NWA Week in Review: April 8-14

Weekly Record: 0-7
Overall Record: 4-7
Standings: Tied for 3rd, 4.5 games back of Arkansas who swept them

Weekly Transactions: None

To say it’s been a rough week for the Naturals would be an understatement.  The Naturals started the week 4-0 sitting in first place.  Over the course of the week they blew multiple leads and finished 0-7.  Not a good week.

Andres Sotillet had the best week of the pitchers going 11.0 innings in two different games giving up just 1 hit.  Sotillet walked 6 and struck out 7 posting a low 9.6% swinging strike rate.

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Conner Greene throws a pitch with a runner on against the Travelers.  Photo taken by Aaron Decker.

Conner Greene had the next best week for the starters throwing 11.0 innings over 2 starts.  Greene gave up 3 ER on just 4 hits, 4 walks, and 16 strikeouts.  Greene posted a swing and miss rate of 12.4%.

Gabe Speier had the highest swing and miss rate of 18.8% among the relievers although he gave up 2 runs in 3.2 innings.  Jake Kalish had the best week from the relievers going 6.0 innings and allowing just 1 run on 6 hits, 1 walk, and 6 strikeouts.

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Gabriel Cancel hits against the Travelers.  Photo taken by Aaron Decker.

Gabriel Cancel hit for the most power on the week slugging .607 in 28 at bats hitting 2 doubles and 2 home runs.  Cancel also had 6 runs batted in.  He was also tied with Taylor Featherston for the team lead with 9 hits.  Featherston hit .391/.444/.609 for the week with 2 doubles and a home run.  Cancel and Featherston did strike out a combined 21 times though in 51 at bats.

Although Nick Heath didn’t have a great week hitting .185/.241/.185, he did manage to steal 6 bases in 6 attempts.  Heath will improve on his triple slash line as the season progresses.  He just had an off week.

Khalil Lee slashed .296/.345/.333 and stole 2 bases of his own.  Lee did strike out 9 times.

DJ Burt and Anderson Miller both had a good week.  Burt only played in 3 games but posted a line of .357/.438/.571.  Miller played in 5 of the 7 games and posted a line of .333/.412/.400.

The Naturals lost a tough luck loss on Monday night against the Travelers.  PFPs are an essential part of the game and often get overlooked until someone makes a mistake.  In this instance, in a 1-1 game with a runner on first and second with 1 out, Walker Sheller induced a weak come backer.  The play should have been an inning ending double play with ease but Sheller shorted the throw and it bounced into second base.  The Naturals didn’t get an out.  The next hitter tapped a slow chopper to the right side scoring the go ahead run and ultimately the winning run in a 2-1 loss.  Andres Sotillet had a good start for the Naturals going 5.0 innings allowing just one run a solo shot.  It was the only hit he surrendered.  Sotillet also walked 3 batters and had 2 strikeouts.  Jake Kalish had 3.0 scoreless innings in relief.  Nick Heath had two singles and two stolen bases.  Taylor Featherston also had two hits for the Naturals.

On Tuesday, the Naturals lost again in similar fashion.  With a tie game in the top of the ninth, Yunior Marte gave up back to back doubles yielding the winning run.  The Naturals fought back in the bottom of the ninth when Travis Jones worked a leadoff walk, went to second on a bad throw during a pickoff attempt, and moved to third when Featherston hit a ground ball behind him.  With the tying run on third and one out, Kort Peterson struck out and Meibrys Viloria hit a line drive to the center fielder for the final out.  Conner Greene made the start and like his first start, was very good.  Greene went 6.0 innings allowing no runs on 3 hits, 2 walks, and 8 Ks.  Greene got a no decision when the Naturals bullpen gave up 4 runs over the next 3.0 innings.  Gabriel Cancel was the only Natural with multiple hits smacking two singles.  Jones had two walks.

Wednesday marked the third straight defeat for the Naturals at the hands of the Travelers.  Jace Vines made the start and gave up 5 runs although only 1 was earned.  So far in his first two starts, Vines has given up 11 runs with only 1 being earned.  Vines gave up 5 hits, 1 walk, and had 5 Ks.  He will probably be one of the first guys moved to the pen when one of Lynch, Singer, or Kowar are ready to move up.  Emilio Ogando did not have a good outing giving up 4 earned runs in 2.0 innings.  Gabe Speier struck out 3 in his 1.0 innings of work.  Khalil Lee had two hits for the Naturals scoring 2 runs and walking once.  Featherston had another multi-hit game going 2-5 with an RBI.  And Jones played first base reaching on a double and a single.  I mentioned it’d be interesting to see how Darryl Kennedy got guys at bats and moved them around in positions earlier this year and in this game DJ Burt played third base while Emmanuel Rivera took the night off and served as the DH.

Thursday was a wild game.  The Naturals blew two different leads en route to a 12-11 loss when the Cardinals walked it off on them.  Gerson Garabito only made it through 3.0 innings allowing 4 runs on 6 hits, 3 walks, and 4 strikeouts.  Grant Gavin got roughed up in the pen as well giving up 2 runs on 3 hits in 3.0 innings.  Gavin did record 5 strikeouts.  Offensively, left fielder DJ Burt (see how he is moving around?) lead off and went 2-4 with a double and two more walks.  Burt also stole second.  Gabriel Cancel hit his first home run of the season ending up 1-3 with three RBI and a walk.  Featherston continued his torrid stretch at the plate going 3-3 with a home run, double, and walk.  Featherston scored four runs and drove in two.  He is now hitting .484 on the short season.  Anderson Miller was 3-5 with a double and two runs scored.  Jones added two more hits and scored two runs with a walk.

Friday brought the Naturals their fifth consecutive loss and first taste of sub-.500 baseball after winning their first four.  The Naturals gave up seven runs in the final two innings to lose 11-7.  Ofreidy Gomez made his second start of the year lasting 4.1 innings and giving up 4 runs, 3 hits, 3 walks, and 2 home runs.  Gomez received a no decision even though he did record 6 strikeouts.  Franco Terrero took the loss giving up 5 runs in 1.0 innings.  Lee was 2-5 with a double, 2 runs scored, and 3 RBI.  Lee stole his fourth base of the season.  Cancel was 2-4 with a double and is now hitting .290 on the season.

Saturday was the sixth straight loss for the Naturals as they found defeat in the bottom of the 11th as well.  I really thought the bullpen was going to be a strength for this Naturals team, but in this losing streak, it has not been.  Jake Kalish made the start for the Naturals going 3.0 innings allowing 3 hits on 1 run, 1 walk, and 4 strikeouts.  I think this was more of a “let’s make sure he gets 3.0 innings today” kind of thing so in order to make sure that happened, he got the start.  Andres Sotillet came in as the piggy-backer and threw 6.0 innings of no hit ball.  He did allow 3 walks and struck out 5.  Sotillet left a 1-1 ball game to Sheller who gave up a run in both the 10th and 11th as the Naturals lost 4-3.  Remember, in the minors they start a runner at second base in every extra inning.  Xavier Fernandez was 2-4 with a walk and second baseman DJ Burt was 2-5.  Travis Jones started in left field but moved to first base when the Naturals pinch ran for Samir Duenez who had been at first base.

Sunday marked the seventh consecutive loss for the Naturals.  This time to the Cardinals by a score of 8-6 in 10 innings.  Conner Greene made the start and pulled a no decision while throwing 5.0 innings giving up 6 runs, 3 earned, on 4 hits, 2 walks, and 8 Ks.

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